One of the major aspirations for the Fit For Life scheme, that is organised from the McClellend Centre on City Campus, is to increase the amount of exercise both students and staff do throughout the week.
On the WABBA, a student fitness instruction program offered during Worcester Week to members of the Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, students have been assisting staff and taking on the role of fitness instructor.
Kimberley Bebbington is one of those students, building her own skill base, while at the same time supporting University staff through fitness routines.
Back in July 2013 Kimberley met with Katy Boom Director of Environmental Sustainability, to begin a new, supervised exercise regime.
Kimberley began by establishing Katy’s personal targets and previous experience regarding fitness and exercise. Katy had never previously been a member of a fitness club.
“The main thing that made me turn up was Kim; she had a fantastic knowledge and was very supportive. I would have hated letting down a student, so that kept me focused.”
Katy’s two key objectives were to improve fitness and lose weight, so Kim set incremental goals with these end targets in mind. In July Katy was weighed and her body fat percentage was also worked out.
“This is a crucial element because when you start an exercise regiment, not only do you lose fat but you gain muscle,” Kim explained “muscle weighs more than fat so it is a good idea to monitor your progress through body fat, rather than purely on mass.”
The exercise plan had to be done 3 times a week and it was tailored to Katy’s preference. For example, the 30 minutes cardio chosen was either cycling or rowing, to avoid the treadmill, which Katy was not keen on. Following the cardio workout Katy then did 30 minutes of weight training. So overall not a huge amount of time, but the results were very positive.
Katy’s weight, particularly her body fat percentage decreased, and she also saw a dramatic drop in her visceral fat, this being the most dangerous kind of fat. Visceral fat is wrapped around the organs and increases the chances of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even dementia.
However, it’s not just about the facts and figures, exercise changes the way we feel, Katy had discovered a vast improvement
“I am much fitter and my colleagues have noticed the difference in me.”
Following the success in these programmes, more opportunities have been arranged. The McClelland Centre will be working in conjunction with the NHS to give staff the chance to receive a full health check to include, glucose level checks, blood pressure, heart rate and the option of a 10 week exercise plan.
Alongside this staff will be offered nutritional guidance from students, and lifestyle advice from the NHS should it be required.
Kimberley explained “This is a pilot study that we hope will expand across the University.”
There are also activities set up for those of us who prefer a lower intensity workout as well. Students and staff are being encouraged to walk the mile around St John’s campus and log the distance online, the aim is to reach 24,902 miles – the circumference of the world, Around The World in 80 Days.
The idea is to make exercise a natural part of our day. A good many of us have very sedentary lifestyles today and we simply don’t move enough. The benefits of exercise are so varied that even a small amount done throughout the week can help with stress, boost our feel good hormones and increase concentration, not to mention the physical improvements. Katy’s experience goes to show, that with a little bit of extra effort you can get a huge pay off.